Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Overcrowding bane of prison health

Overcrowding bane of prison health

Overcrowding bane of prison health

111104_04
Prisoners sit in the courtyard of Prey Sar prison during children’s day.

Overcrowing is the main contributor to the spread of serious diseases in prisons across the Kingdom, according to officials who spoke yesterday at an inter-ministerial meeting focusing on inmate health.
The seminar was a joint effort by the ministries of inter-ior and health.

Koy Boun Sorn, director- general of the Ministry of Interior’s prison department, explained that overcrowding was a serious issue that needed to be addressed by the Cambodian government.

“The inmates’ health is very important. We want to prevent them from carrying their diseases into the outside world once they are released, so we need to ensure they maintain good health while they’re here,” he said, urging doctors to separate inmates known to be carrying disease.

“To avoid health problems, we need to build more cells,” he said.

Keeping inmates healthy should be a priority for prison officials and doctors, Koy Boun Sorn added.  It was also important, he said, to strengthen the quality of prison doctors and ensure that nearby health centers were adequately supplied with appropriate medicines.

Chan Soveth, senior investigator for rights group Adhoc, agreed that overcrowding was deleterious to inmates’ health, calling for restraint in the number of people put behind bars.

“The prison department, police and courts should discuss ways to avoid imprisoning people for minor offences,” he said.

He also pointed to poor sanitary conditions, a lack of food and sub-standard doctors as worsening the problem.

Am Sam Ath, senior investigator for rights group Licadho, said overcrowding seriously affected prisoners’ health by restricting air flow and enabling the rapid spread of disease.

“Some prisoners have to take turns sleeping because there isn’t enough sleeping space and some prisoners use bathrooms as cells because of a lack of space,” he said.

A draft prison law aimed at addressing many of these iss-ues is set to be debated in the National Assembly today.

MOST VIEWED

  • US to ramp up sanctions after ‘flawed’ national polls

    At a press conference on Wednesday, the US State Department announced that it would expand visa sanctions on the Cambodian officials and individuals it deems responsible for “undermining democracy” in Cambodia. At the briefing, spokesperson Heather Nauert reiterated that the department regarded the July 29 elections

  • Final poll results confirm first single-party Assembly

    IN an unprecedented situation in Cambodian politics, the official results of the July 29 national elections have declared that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will take all 125 seats in the National Assembly on the back of it receiving 76 per cent of the votes. The National

  • PM's Bodyguard commander hits back at US

    The commander of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Bodyguard Unit (BGU) Hing Bun Heang on Sunday dismissed a short video clip that went viral on social media in which he says he is preparing for a war with the United States over its aggressiveness towards

  • Chinese influence to sweep Kingdom?

    Growing Cambodia-China ties have seen the latter’s influence sweep across the Kingdom through increased investments and tourism. The Asian giant has become the leading source of foreign funds in Cambodia, fuelling the construction sector with huge casino and hotel projects. Much of the growth